It starts from the farm up

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News -

ADOP­TION of new tech­nol­ogy in agri­cul­ture has to start from the grass­roots, ac­cord­ing to AgriWebb co-founder John Fargher, who spoke at GFIA In Fo­cus.

Mr Fargher cited a MLA study which found through the use of tech­nol­ogy and data man­age­ment, gains of $14 to $18 gross mar­gins per hectare could be achieved.

He also shared a com­ment from the first cus­tomer of AgriWebb – an agri­cul­ture app de­signed to stream­line farm data.

“He said, ‘if peo­ple like me don’t in­vest in peo­ple like you, this in­dus­try will never move for­ward’,” he said.

“I think that’s quite pow­er­ful in that we know we have a big job to do and we can’t just sit back and wait for oth­ers to do that. It will be re­quired from the ground up.”

Dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion, Mr Fargher asked all the farm­ers in the room to raise their hands. He then asked how many still car­ried a lit­tle red or green note­book with a pen­cil in their pocket. Most did.

“We have gone on for mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions run­ning our busi­nesses off pen­cil and pa­per or, at best, a spread­sheet. But we have no abil­ity to process im­prove, there is no abil­ity to work out what the in­puts and out­puts are and what’s ac­tu­ally driv­ing our busi­ness for­ward,” he said.

“By no means are farm­ers not in­no­va­tive peo­ple, in fact, I think the op­po­site. If we look at my fam­ily busi­ness, we went from a staff of about 40 peo­ple, on horse­back, to now be­ing run just by my par­ents with a Cessna air­craft.” WHAT does the farm ve­hi­cle of the fu­ture look like?

Will it be driver­less? A ma­chine that can fly? Or one that can be con­trolled by a smart­phone?

Ac­cord­ing to Ubco chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Timothy Al­lan, the fu­ture ve­hi­cle for farm­ers could be an elec­tric two-wheel mo­tor­bike.

Speak­ing at the GFIA In Fo­cus in Bris­bane, Mr Al­lan said safety would be the crit­i­cal fac­tor for con­sumer choice.

His com­pany has de­signed a dual elec­tric drive bike it be­lieves will slash work­place fa­tal­i­ties.

“It has a very low cen­tre of grav­ity, a sim­ple de­sign with no clutch or gears and there are no real el­e­ments that gen­er­ate heat – so you can’t get burnt,” he said.

“When you com­bine the fairy-light weight with these fea­tures it’s very safe.”

That low weight was the big­gest ad­van­tage of electrics, he said.

The av­er­age weight of a four wheeler is close to 300kg. Ubco’s bikes weigh only 63kg.

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